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Our mental health facilities explained
Each year 1.2 million, or one in five Victorians, will experience mental ill health or psychological distress. Nearly half of all Victorians will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime.
Sometimes these challenges to mental health are eased with time and some level of support. At other times, people need more specialised treatment and support.
Different types of mental health facilities
As part of the Victorian Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, we’re designing and delivering contemporary, safe and high-quality mental health facilities across Victoria.
With so many different types of mental health care facilities in planning and delivery, it can be difficult to understand the level of treatment, care and support that each provides.
In this article we’re taking a look at some of the different mental health facilities we’re delivering and explaining how they’ll support Victorians experiencing mental ill health or psychological distress on their recovery journey.
Prevention and recovery care facilities
Prevention and recovery care (PARC) facilities provide short-term residential treatment programs. They offer care in a unique, homelike setting within the community. This means people experiencing mental ill health or psychological distress can get the support they need to resume their lives in their local community.
PARC facilities operate via a ‘step-up/step-down’ model. They provide early intervention for people who are unwell but not in need of admission to an acute inpatient setting (step up). For people in the early stages of recovery, they offer a community-based treatment, care and support option (step down), usually following an admission to an acute inpatient service.
PARC facilities play an important role in easing the increasing demand on hospital inpatient facilities. They reduce the incidence of repeated visits or offer an alternative to people before they need admission to a hospital unit.
What we're delivering
We’re delivering a new Women’s PARC near Sunshine Hospital. This $8.4 million facility will be the first PARC facility to provide residential treatment and support specifically tailored to the needs of women, with additional accommodation provided for those who have dependent young children.
We’re also delivering Youth PARC (YPARC) facilities across Victoria for young people aged between 16 and 25, who are unwell or recovering from mental ill health or psychological distress.
A new YPARC is already in delivery for the North West Metropolitan region on a site adjoining Orygen Youth Health in Parkville. Once complete, the $11.9 million North West Metropolitan YPARC is expected to care for up to 200 young people each year.
The $141 million Youth Prevention and Recovery Care (YPARC) expansion program will deliver new facilities in:
- Barwon South-West region
- Grampians region
- Gippsland region
- Hume region
- North East metropolitan Melbourne.
Three existing YPARC facilities in Bendigo, Frankston and Dandenong will also be refurbished as part of the program
Artist's impression of the shared kitchen and dining areas within the North West Metropolitan Youth Prevention and Recovery Care centre
Acute mental health inpatient facilities
Acute mental health inpatient facilities support people experiencing an acute episode of mental illness or psychological distress who require specialised and immediate treatment.
These services provide short-term treatment, care and support in a contemporary, safe and high-quality hospital setting.
They provide a range of therapeutic interventions and programs, including supporting patients to:
- explore ways of managing their mental ill health
- improve coping strategies
- move towards recovery.
They also reduce pressure on emergency departments by providing access to treatment for people that need dedicated clinical care.
What we’re delivering
The $492 million Mental health beds expansion program will deliver 120 hospital-based beds and 24 home-based beds.
The new hospital-based beds and services will be located at:
- Northern Hospital, Epping
- Sunshine Hospital, St Albans
- The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville
- McKellar Centre, North Geelong.
Once complete, the new hospital-based beds will provide more than 43,000 days of care per year. This will enable 2,500 more Victorians to access vital mental health inpatient services every year.
The new inpatient units have been co-designed with people with lived experience of Victoria’s mental health system.
Artist impression of the central courtyard at the new mental health facility at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Emergency department mental health, alcohol and other drugs hubs
Emergency department mental health, alcohol and other drugs hubs enhance access to treatment for people presenting to emergency departments with urgent mental health and psychological distress, alcohol and other drug issues.
The hubs are 24-hour short stay units in a dedicated treatment space within the emergency department. Patients are assessed and treated by an emergency department team made up of psychiatrists, nurses and social workers.
The new hubs will ensure people presenting at emergency departments can be fast tracked to receive specialist and dedicated care. This provides the right support sooner, enhances patient experience and eases pressure on existing resources.
What we're delivering
The Victorian Government is investing $32 million in six new emergency department mental health, alcohol and other drugs hubs.
The new emergency departments hubs will be located at:
- Barwon Health’s University Hospital Geelong
- Monash Health’s Monash Medical Centre
- Peninsula Health’s Frankston Hospital
- St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne
- The Royal Melbourne Hospital
- Western Health’s Sunshine Hospital.
Once complete, the new hubs will provide a total of 34 new beds across Victoria’s busiest hospitals.
Artist impression of the lounge area at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.
Alcohol and other drug residential rehabilitation facilities
Alcohol and other drug residential rehabilitation facilities provide 24-hour specialised treatment, care and support to people who are recovering from alcohol and other drug issues.
The facilities provide a safe and supportive environment for people who have already started their recovery journey. This means all residents have gone through detox and are no longer using alcohol or other drugs.
Rehabilitation programs are typically for three to four months duration but this is dependent on the needs of the individual. Some stays can be 12 months or longer. They provide people an opportunity to work on their recovery by establishing new patterns of behaviour in a safe and therapeutic environment, separate from their everyday life.
Ongoing support is also available after a stay at a residential rehabilitation facility. Support includes official programs, like peer support meetings, counselling, housing and training. Informal networks also provide ongoing support, building upon the relationships made during treatment.
What we’re delivering
The Victorian Government is investing $52.1 million to deliver three new regional alcohol and other drug facilities.
The project will deliver 30-bed adult residential rehabilitation facilities in Corio and Wangaratta. A 20-bed facility in Traralgon will provide specialised treatment, care and support for young people aged between 16 and 21 years.
Once complete, these facilities will provide alcohol and drug residential rehabilitation services to an additional 900 Victorians every year.
Artist's impression of a communal area inside the residential rehabilitation service for young people in Traralgon.
Forensic mental health services
Forensic mental health services provide care and treatment for people experience serious ill mental health who are in, or at risk of entering, the justice system.
These facilities provide advanced clinical treatment and programs in purpose-built, secure environments.
What we’re delivering
The $349.6 million Thomas Embling Hospital expansion will deliver an additional 82 secure mental health beds and help transform Victoria’s forensic mental health system.
The expansion will include a new dedicated 34-bed women’s precinct, a 48-bed medium security men’s facility, as well as clinical administration facilities.
Getting mental health support
Mental health helplines can provide support if you are experiencing mental ill health:
- Beyondblue – call 1300 224 636 for telephone support, information and resources for people dealing with depression or anxiety.
- Lifeline - call 13 11 14 for this free, 24-hour Australia-wide crisis support and suicide prevention service.
- Kids Help Line – call 1800 55 1800 for free counselling and advice for young people between the ages of five and 25.
A comprehensive list of counselling, online and phone supports for mental illness is available on the Better Health Channel website.
The Department of Health also provides information on mental health resources for those struggling due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. They are available on the Mental health resources page on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria website
Last updated: 12 October 2021
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